Serena Williams' campaign in her comeback tournament was cut short after her doubles partner Ons Jabeur withdrew from the Eastbourne International tournament citing a right knee injury. Williams and Jabeur were scheduled to play in the semifinals on Friday after winning two matches over the last two days.
As a result of the withdrawal, Williams will enter the Wimbledon Championships starting next Monday having played just two doubles matches to test her fitness and level of play. The 23-time Grand Slam singles champion is ranked No. 1208 in the singles rankings and enters Wimbledon unseeded.
In their opening match at the Eastbourne International, Williams and Jabeur came back from a set down to win 2-6, 6-3, 13-11 against Sara Sorribes Tormo and Marie Bouzkova. The American superstar and her Tunisian doubles partner brought out their best when it mattered most in the deciding tie-break.
The duo put up a much more dominant display in the quarterfinals on Wednesday. Playing against the pairing of Shuko Aoyama and Chan Hao-ching, Williams and Jabeur won 6-2, 6-4, saving all nine break points they faced throughout the match. They were scheduled to play Aleksandra Krunic and Magda Linette in the semifinals.
After their quarterfinal victory, Serena Williams spoke about her experience playing with Jabeur and lauded the singles World No. 3 for her performances.
"I didn't do much, just played with my baby. She's so fun. I think Ons and I played together much better today. Although I thought we played really good together yesterday, too. Ons really held me up today, she was really playing so good. I was looking at her like, ‘Wow, this is great," Williams said after Wednesday's match.
"I would be dishonest if I said it wasn't" - Serena Williams doubted a comeback to tennis during injury phase
Serena Williams recently also opened up on her mindset during the time she was sidelined with an injury she picked up midway through last season. Williams admitted that she doubted her chances of a comeback, but always worked to keep herself at least 'semi-fit'.
"Absolutely, for sure, I would be dishonest if I said it wasn't. But now my body feels great. I did a lot of non-training in the beginning, obviously. After I couldn't play New York, I just went cold turkey of not working out and it felt good. But I always try to stay semi-fit because you never know when you're going to enter Wimbledon," Williams said.
When asked about her future in the sport after the upcoming Wimbledon Championships, Serena Williams gave an honest assessment and said she was unsure of what the future holds.
"I don't know, I can't answer that. I love tennis and I love playing, or else I wouldn't be out here, right? But I also love what I do off the court, what I've built with Serena Ventures, it's interesting. So, it's a lot," Williams expressed.
Despite playing her first Grand Slam event in over a year, Serena Williams has a lot at stake at Wimbledon 2022. She is aiming to tie Margaret Court's record of 24 women's singles Major titles. Aditionally, she is just two matches away from a 100 match wins at Wimbledon and could also become the first unseeded player to win the women's singles title at SW19.
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